Love at a Table for One

“It Is Well With My Soul”

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll, 

Whatever thy lot, Thou hast taught me to say,

It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul..” Horatio G. Spafford

In my browsing through past articles of my not so memorable prior life, I came across an article I saved for when I was ready to learn how to deal with what I thought I lost… in the death of my marriage. It was written by PH. D and posted in The St. Augustine Record found at St.Augustine.com, the story is told of the detailed events in a life that led to the lyrics of the well-known hymnal mentioned above. In my daily reading there are occasions where the written word will jump of the page and leap into my heart, but none quite like this one did. The words revisited made me dive down deep to my own well to check what they, when read out loud, mean to me… “It is Well with my Soul”

It was a gut check…

When I heard of the life he lost. I could feel it in my gut. All that I lost. If anyone out there is listening…. REAL LOVE HURTS and I know I am not the first to say so… but, when loss in love has reduced the fighting force behind the beat of the drum you march to, from any other number, to an army of one, the resulting pain can be devastating… gut wrenching so to speak.  I used to say (to myself); whoever said “it is better to have loved and loss than to never have loved at all”… must not have known what it really felt like to experience true love that was truly lost. It’s like that blow to stomach that you can’t quite recover from, the one that knocks the breath right out of you. The breath of life.

More than Love Lost

When you’re suddenly empty because everything that once fueled your spirit and drive to keep going has been removed from the table, you’re at risk of losing more than you think. The truth is, what’s really at stake is your appetite for life as you know it. Most can identify with knowing something major is lacking in life but can you identify with being satisfied with starvation? When you have succumbed to the fact that you’re no longer getting what you need (that is what’s going on)… you’re starving yourself and that can be a dangerous place to be.

“Done waiting on life? I don’t blame you.”

“I’m done.” That’s what they say. I’ve said it too. We’re all at a loss. It’s a toxic view to have on life… and what’s worse, is that according to you and everyone else, the view isn’t changing. When you’re at a loss and nobody has anything to offer to meet your need… the biggest problem is… no-one will blame you. Everyone tiptoes around the table and dares not to ask if you’d be interested in anything further on the menu because they know what you’ve been served. So with a pain in the pit of your belly, you just continue to sit.

Getting the Guts to Let Go!

Why is it so hard to let go of something that causes pain? The most common response I have heard myself and others say to that question is “I just want to understand why.” We all want to know why everything happens to us, because if we can learn the reason then maybe we can make sure it doesn’t happen again or at the very least we can be better prepared the next time, but we’ll be waiting at a table for one forever for the answer to arrive because everything is not about “us”. The painful truth is… the reason for your loss may have nothing to do with “Y-O-U” but the pain you’re continuing to experience over it is due to nothing but you. I’m not saying you asked for it but you can’t ask for anything else because it’s taking up all the real estate on your plate.

Go on and help yourself! Life after loss.

Looking back at when I was living with all that  I lost… the “self-help” I sought, when I was at a loss is laughable to say the least. If you’re trying to help yourself… can I just say… you can’t give what you have not received. If you’re running on empty… you have to go to another source. Who better than the one Horatio G. Spafford turned to when he sought to be well… when all was lost.

You’re invited!

I know this may be hard to believe but once upon a time… I was at a loss for words. I felt like I was losing it all, including my mind… until someone gave me an invitation like no other. There is a table I sit at now… with one that can truly meet every need. His name is Jesus. He found me when all was lost and I was left alone.

From one more single Christian soul to another… I repeat, as Anna Spafford said in two telegraphed words. I am “saved alone.”

Won’t you join me and come open…

He continues to stand and knock at

THE DOOR!

Old School Love

Back to School

Rock and Rule!

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I’m sorry for the break but we had to get ready for school.

Are you ready to rock this school year?

Ready or not… the bus is here. It’s time to get back to class, hit the books & earn more from the teacher than dirty looks. Some think school rules. They love the challenge and welcome the change of facing another school year. While others feel it’s totally lame and to them going back to school is like going against the grain.

 

So, what goes through your mind when thinking about heading back to school?

beautiful bloom blur bright
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Are you the “ho-hum” summer daze dreamer saying “I March to my own drum and don’t want the end of summer to come.”… just wishing that, with one giant exhale, you could wish the present a few more months away?

 

man with fireworks
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Maybe you are the “hi-ho” personality type ‘A’… that’s saying “Carpe Diem! I have waited all summer for the chance to seize the first day…” and you’re staring at the vision board of every achievement ahead already hanging on your bedroom wall.

 

pair of men s black sneakers
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Or perhaps you’re the “oh-no” which way will I go type, saying “I can’t go back but don’t want to see what’s next… now I’m stuck on this emotional roller coaster track…” and you’re flinching with every step you take in fear that it’s not what’s best.

Don’t believe the hype… You’re not alone!

Don’t be fooled… you’re not the only one that feels the way you do about school. After all, we are all learning every day, whether we like it or not. No matter how you approach back to school season …when it comes to learning lessons in love and life no one is absolutely in love with getting schooled, but going back to school can be cool if you know someone who makes the learning meaningful and fun. That’s right! You guessed it!! You are one smart cookie! The key to making learning special is found in relationships.

Whether you’re just jumping in or you’ve done it before and now you’re at it once again… the process of learning something new… even if it’s just about you, is constant and never-ending. If you say you’re a pro and there’s not much you don’t know then you’ll soon have another thing coming. In other words, for you to really rock and rule in school you’re going to need to do more than just look sharp. You need to get sharp and stay sharp!

Proverbs 27:17 (KJV)

17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

B.I.B.L.E. = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

I don’t mean to take it so far back in time but I always have to go there…  “staying sharp” way back when the bible was written was best achieved with the help of another. That’s some real old school love for you to carry in your backpack on this lifelong journey of learning.

Friends for lifelong learning

I made mention before about the importance of having friends in your life that feed you what’s good… and we’ll be defining “good” food as we get to know each other more but what I am hoping you will chew on today is… we all need someone.

Whether the grade level you’re facing today is…Pre-K, Middle school… or Senior year, always keep in mind that to be at the head of the class it means you will always need the others behind you.

 

On Second Thought…Dessert!

Habitat for Happiness

happiness is a piece of cake close up photography
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You have arrived! Just in time for dessert!

Time to shed a little light about what’s really on the menu.

Someone near and dear to my heart once helped me to learn the way you can tell the difference between desert and dessert. I will spell it out for you. The key is to remember that the desert, with a lonesome “s”, is meant for only one, but dessert is a treat with two, so it’s even sweeter to enjoy when shared. One thing’s for certain that’s changed in this season is…. I am never alone… and God has made certain to remind me of it.

So… this one takes the cake.  “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul.” Proverbs 27:9

Do you wanna hear WHO I got with me or do you wanna HEAR who I got with me? 

Since you’re asking; I think I hear knocking. If you’re open to listening. Jesus says “Ask and you shall receive; Seek and ye shall find,; Knock and it shall be opened unto you” Matthew 7:7

Ingredients for a sweet life, when everything is sour…

“When life hands you lemons….make lemonade”  I am sure you have heard the term used a time or two. This used to be hard for me to appreciate because everyone knows the best lemonade is made with more than just lemons. “I got the lemons alright… now where do I get the other necessary ingredients? Can you tell me God?” is what I used to retort. Asking such a question, is not taken lightly, especially if you’re asking the one that can answer.

God makes us able and he meets the need. He puts these missing ingredients in others with a planted seed. One of the greatest gifts of all is a resourceful friend that puts what’s in hand to good use. When times change, relationships often do too.  What was once sweet, in a moment of time, can turn sour. As you go through the ups and downs in life, everything and every season is for a purposed reason. Those experiences are added to your proverbial toolbox so you can use them for someone else in need.

Fresh lemonade and a nice slice of life…

Pulling up a seat, putting up my feet and enjoying the after party. Time to celebrate all that God has done and savoring this pizza-full moment. I’m not trying to be cheesy (lol) I just am. I have recognized that there are always those that are willing to be there when life is sweet, but when life hands you lemons… what you need is someone who has tasted the sour side of life because they have experience to help you succeed and not just sit and become bitter. I couldn’t have asked for more than what God had in store for me. In my not so favorable moments, God sent someone with a habit to walk on the lighter side of the path. She is a true character, with a sweet and sour sense of humor that helps brighten up my perspective on life both in and for the moment.

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MARLO….

Where I come from… no matter where I’m at, pure happiness is when someone joins me at the table! Thank you for joining me my sweet friends!

A Season to Dream Of…

A Christmas Special

dreamon

So… I have surrendered a little bit to you about some of my struggles through my time in the desert. However… even though the present may be a long, dry season, we have talked about the harvest that awaits, which we will gratefully enjoy… soon enough. But beyond the harvest… there is plenty more in store to dream about. But why do we have to wait?

The gifts of this season… received in a DASH

dream to laugh

The key to dashing to success in the relationship business is having someone on your dream team who’s laugh is way funnier than the joke, or so I’ve been recently told. Loving life is done right when we are able to laugh lightly at our failure and loudly in our freedom. We all have little events that can turn our world and our crown upside down and the greatest gift of all is having a friend who gets you through them without even trying, and makes the most joyful sound that brings a smile to your heart.

Remix your view on friends for life

Good friends are like the fabulous finds and furniture pieces that fill every room in your home… It just wouldn’t be home with out them. I don’t know about your daily habit but what I truly love about mine is… what makes life worth living daily stands out, usually in crimson red letters, because those I choose to keep close in life… speak life always.

A relationship with more in store

A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

Proverbs 15:23

Whale, enough said. Whether you’re interested in what I’ve got or not… I know I got the deal of a lifetime when God saved me. FYI – He is all about saving when it comes to me and you. The best thing about it… is those He saved just to put in my life and yours. God knows what and who is needed for every season ahead my friend.

This battle buddy of mine is top grade. She’s a teacher by trade, fearfully created and wonderfully made. She’s a real piece of “heart work.” Thanks for always keeping me heart strong with a laugh and a smile that is always in style.

 

friends_carlabitmoji

 

Carla

A Reason for the Season

Do you believe in the magic?

the magic of christmas...is to believe

Christmas in July

I know what you’re thinking… it’s August. However, in my reflection of this past month, I have come to realize that my time spent in the desert has given me more than just something to thirst for. Somehow it gave me just what I needed to refill my cup. I suppose you could say, during my search through the dry land, I magically stumbled upon the wishing well of my dreams and all I have to do is draw from it daily.

Each day lived in the present is a gift

There is a saying from Bill Keane, in The Family Circus newspaper cartoon of  August 31, 1994 that goes like this “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.” Not wanting to take time for granted; how can we be sure to make the most of each day we have been gifted with as we fight on for the love we so richly deserve? We need to do more than just aim to feel good… we must fuel good. What I mean to say is… in relationships, we need more that just the gift of good company, we need those that continue to feed us what’s good.

The gift of being fed by the fellowship

John 21:17

Jesus asked a third time, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was deeply hurt that Jesus had asked him a third time, “Do you love Me?” “Lord, You know all things,” he replied. “You know I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

Since I realized my need to surrender my old way of thinking about preparing to give thanks, I figure… if I’m going all in and looking forward to the miracle of an abundant harvest… the best way to prepare to receive it is to thank the laborers in the field. They are the sheep feeders and they are gifts that God has given to me… to fuel good always, in good times or baa-aa-aa-ad. (insert sheepish grin)

In the next few visits you will get to meet them. No hocus-pocus to keep you focused over here; just the miracle of God in the fruitful friendships that sprung up from a mustard seed planted in the desert.

So grab some jiffy popcorn and stay tuned…a Christmas special is coming soon!

Seasoned for a Reason… I am

The ME in the Mirror

sunset beach night reflection
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I AM in the Mirror…

Standing in the sand on the edge of the shore,

looking with hope for something more

Been diving deep but coming up dry,

to my reflection I can only ask why

God, can you help me see beyond what’s in me?

He responds… “Who are you questioning? You or me?

The heat of the day brings an unquenchable thirst;

you see what’s on the horizon and need to expect more than the worst.

You limit what is seen by what can be expected from you

But if you’re asking me… I have much more in store for you to do.

Where you are now, at the edge of the shore

is not as important as what you are now, a vessel on which I AM aboard.”

I AM in the mirror.

 

 

 

 

Never Second Best

Now that you have succumbed to living your life surrendered to the discovery of true love for your own self….we can discuss seeking help. Yes, that’s right…. I said help! Now since you are a first-timer to the concept of surrender, I know this is a little hard to swallow but that huge lump in your throat is really just your pride. Our need for others is nothing new. Since the beginning of our relationship, when we took our first look at what love is actually, I disclosed that taking the path on the journey to true love is not a trip recommended for one. Especially if we want this battle won.

black and white sport fight boxer
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The Champ vs. Chump Dilemma

Like I said before… the biggest struggle in our fight for love is the battle within. No one feels good when looking forward to a losing battle and the fear of looking like a chump makes the struggle real. Having help does not make one less worthy of the title, and real champs recognize they didn’t get to the top by their own might alone. We all need someone in our corner. In our fight to find a love that is not second best, we just need to make sure we find the right one(s).

Finding your Battle Buddy

the fight in my two handsThe love you’re aiming for is in your hands…” the ME in the mirror

The first thing we need to address is… this is a different kind of fight. In the undying words of Pat Benatar “LOVE is a BATTLEFIELD” and I have been through the battle enough times to know that to keep on soldiering on, one must have a battle buddy. Heck, some of us need an entire platoon or squadron. Determining your need will be based on three things.

Three key things to consider when looking for your battle buddy or squad:

  • Know your position: what kind of stance do you usually take in a fight? Knowing the position you take will help you find those that will give you enough cover in the areas you need. All things considered, in your past experience with love you probably just wanted someone by your side that looked at and did things the same way as you. This time you’ll want someone who sees and is willing to do the things you don’t or won’t.
  • Know what you’re aiming at: To move forward in this good fight you must commit to not looking back. That’s what you employ your special forces for. Let me explain…there is no time for games. This is not your first-time and we are not playing laser tag. This fight is for real! Once you know what you’re aiming at, you need to be able to set your scope and focus on your target. Your battle buddy or buddies can handle the rear!
  • Know who is standing guard: Last, but definitely not least, is the most important player on the field… the gatekeeper. Whether your target in love is in sight or not, you have to know who is at the gate of your heart. If you are going to do this right you must be aware of the gate at all times. You have to be able to trust your gate keeper. Mine is the one that holds the very keys to the kingdom of love and life. Jesus! He never lets his guard down. I count on him as my first line of protection against the enemy that fights from within. If you want him as your gatekeeper…  just ask!

 

Getting ready to get engaged

Once you have determined who will be by your side we can talk about making sure your troop is prepared. Just a side note…. the gate keeper is key! If you have him in place he is certain to only let those worthy of the most honor enter this battle with you. He has already faithfully met my need. Which leads me to introducing someone who is with me on this journey for the long-haul. I have to give a shout out to one of my best battle buddies. She knows that to be the best friend in a fight she has to be prepared daily. She is in constant training and she comes with her own back up…

battle buddy

My friend Pamala… In this fight, she wants the victory as much as I do and so she hits the gym with a trainer that is second to none… Efrain at 24Hour Fitness in Kendall!

Forward march!

So now that you’ve met one of mine… It’s time for you to determine who will join you in this fight. I already have my battle buddies. They are in position and always ready to be engaged. So… find yours and invite them to join us. There is plenty of room at this round table!